I recently received this sad “humor” forwarded by a very old friend from our high school and young-adult days. (In spite of it, she’s actually a very nice lady – a retired nurse – normally caring, gentle, compassionate. But she lives in Florida, and I can’t help but think she’s just fallen-in with a bad crowd. )
Once in a while we have to stand back in awe of our government . . .
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever to 46 million people.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”
Thus ends today’s lesson in irony.
Response – To Everyone
So I sent the following to her. And to the originator of the message. And to everyone to whom my friend had forwarded it. (One really should place one’s email lists in the “bcc” [blind-cc] field; not in the “To” field! ):
Okay – let’s risk introducing some FACTS into this much-hyped issue …
Take a look at what IS required of those loafers who use food-stamp, who “grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves”.
Quotes are from the government’s http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm
First of all – Woppps – there are WORK requirements!
Employment Requirements for Food Stamps
“Generally ABAWDS [able-bodied adults without dependents] between 18 and 50 who do not have any dependent children can get SNAP benefits only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in a workfare or employment and training program other than job search. This requirement is waived in some locations.
“With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, accept suitable employment, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the local office. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program. ”
I.e., most folks CAN’T GET food stamps unless they ACTIVELY SEEK employment, and accept it when available. AND participate in retraining!
And there’s LOTS of competition for ANY jobs when they DO become available” (from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate – “The number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million” ).
Please remember – the only people who are counted in those official “unemployment” statistics are people who ARE ACTIVELY SEEKING employment.
Ahhh, but there MORE – still OTHER requirements for all those loafers seeking food stamps:
Limitations on Resources
“Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3250 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled.”
I.e., an entire HOUSEHOLD can’t have more than $2,000 (or $3,250 if one member is elderly or disabled) in the bank or in the value of other “countable” resources.
And even if they are earning SOME income, it can’t be much:
Limitations on Income
“Households … that have income over the amounts listed below cannot get SNAP [food stamps] benefits. [for instance]
“Household size 1 – Net monthly income $931.
“Household size 2 – Net monthly income $1,261.”
I donno ’bout you, but I don’t think there are very many people who VOLUNTARILY choose to live within those requirements and limits. And if they do, what kind of a “life” can anyone have if they ARE “living” that way?
Food Stamps for Wealthy Capitalists
Oh … and here’s an interesting footnote about how perhaps the best-known LEADER of our Glorious Capitalist System’s uses food-stamps (and Medicaid): Walmart management actively counsels their employees about how to get food-stamps and Medicaid. (Watch the recent documentary, accurately titled, “Walmart – The High Cost of Low Price”!)
The Richest Nation? A Christian Nation?
We’re constantly told that we are “the richest nation in the world”. A compassionate nation. A Christian nation.
Sooo … do compassionate Christians in the richest nation in the world REALLY want the 12.2-million people who ARE actively seeking work – plus all the others who DO have jobs (maybe at Walmart) but make less than $931/month and have less than $2,000 in total resources (for their entire household!) – to “make do” when it comes to being able to eat? AND feed their kids and elderly relatives?
But … hey! … dog food’s cheap!
Is it REALLY appropriate to be casually trashing the millions of American citizens (and their children) who “choose” to try to avoid starving themselves and their kids by using food stamps? (IF they can qualify for them.)
Maybe it’d be worthwhile – especially for anyone who claims to be a Christian – to try LIVING on food stamps for, say, an entire week … before so casually trashing those who do so. http://foodstampchallenge.typepad.com/
–jim; Jim Warren, open-govt & tech-civlib advocate & sometime columnist
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